Masakh'iSizwe Bursary Awards Ceremony
Speech given at 4 Dorp Street, Cape Town on 16 May 2018
- Programme Director
- Head of Department of Transport and Public Works, Ms Jacqui Gooch
- Senior Managers of the Department of Transport and Public Works as well as the Western Cape Education Department
- Our valued private partners and Higher Education partners
- Our bursary recipients
- Invited guests
- Ladies and gentlemen
Good evening, goeienaand, molweni
It is an honour to address you all this evening to present our most recent and outstanding recipients of the Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme for the 2018 academic year.
The commitment to capacity building and job creation for the youth is reflected in the various programmes spearheaded by the Western Cape Government Department of Transport and Public Works. The Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme is a flagship programme that focuses on facilitating the development and availability of skills identified nationally as scarce and critical, to meet the operational needs of the Department and indeed South Africa as a whole.
Masakh’iSizwe bursaries are awarded annually for study disciplines related to a degree, diploma or post graduate studies in the transport, engineering or built environment. The underpinning concept of the bursary programme is to empower financially disadvantaged youth through access to tertiary education. The programme also boasts support services, tutoring, employment placement, and partnerships with the private sector. These features serve to distinguish the programme from many other similar programmes and opportunities for young people.
Our departmental skills development offering also includes artisan training programmes and numerous other skills development programmes that, in the past, have produced excellent artisans, plumbers, carpenters and many other candidates for skilled or semi-skilled occupations through the National Youth Service Programme.
This evening, I wish to acknowledge our Bursary Collaboration Venture (BCV) Partners who contribute greatly to the success of the bursary programme. The bursary collaborative venture is key in ensuring collective responsibility in addressing skills shortage in the sector, with the aim of maximizing opportunities for learning and employment. The collaboration enables the department, private sector and Higher Education Institutions to engage and share expertise and resources in support of socio-economic development initiatives.
The co-ordination and success of the Masakh’iSizwe Bursary Programme is underpinned by our uniquely tailored approach of direct interaction with bursars, graduates and all other stakeholders. Applicants from all provinces are considered for bursaries as long as they are enrolled or would be studying at the three Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the Western Cape that form part of the Bursary Collaboration, namely Stellenbosch University, the University of Cape Town and the Cape Peninsula University of Technology.
I should like to commend the Western Cape Education Department, Non-Profit and Non-Governmental Organisations, and foundations for the important role they play in improving the quality of education and strengthening the feeding pipeline for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields of study. They, together with Higher Education Institutions, continue to find innovative ways of partnering with each other with limited resources to assist young people to access tertiary education.
The current economic climate is posing serious challenges that are felt by both young people and employers alike. In reality, it is a struggle for young people to gain access to tertiary education, especially persons from rural and disadvantaged communities. It is also they who often may lack resources and capacity to excel at tertiary level without additional support. Furthermore, once they have completed their qualification, it is often a challenge for them to gain employment. It is a paradox that, while our country is faced with shortage of skills, many graduates remain unemployed. We now know that this situation is caused, in part, by a mismatch in the supply and demand for specific skills, as well as employers on the whole requiring experience even for entry-level posts, thereby reducing the graduates’ ability to find employment post qualification.
It is with this challenge in mind that I wish to highlight the successes achieved by the bursary programme during the 2017/18 financial year. This past financial year alone, seventeen (17) graduates have found employment within the Department of Transport and Public Works.
Congratulations to the team for achieving this.
The programme has also added diversity to the department’s staff complement, putting more skilled female graduates than before into careers that have been historically male-dominated. Forty-one percent (41%) of the graduates employed are women and one person has disabilities while eighty-eight percent (88%) are affirming candidates as defined by Employment Equity prescripts. Two (2) bursars were employed by municipalities and seven (7) by the private sector.
The graduates employed by the department are also registered as candidates in diverse disciplines and are undergoing training to attain professional registration through the professional development programme. This programme is ensuring skills transfer between skilled employees nearing retirement age and the future leaders in the industry takes place in a safe work space, through coaching and mentoring. All these efforts are implemented to develop competencies which enable the youth to compete at professional levels and emerge as the future leaders of infrastructure development in the country.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I wish to take this opportunity to thank our Bursary Collaboration partners, private companies and mentors for the important role they play in employing and providing meaningful jobs to interns and graduates. They have provided appropriate exposure, work experience and training to achieve the outcomes stipulated by professional bodies and relevant higher education institution.
For the past eight years, we have had a 100% and 85% success rate in facilitating the employment placement and rotation of interns and graduates, respectively. This success would not have been possible without the ongoing support of our Bursary Collaboration Venture partners and other companies in the sector. This work is testament to the Western Cape Government’s mantra of “Better Together”.
I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of the three higher education institutions to the success of our Bursary Collaboration Venture partnership, UCT, Stellenbosch, and CPUT. We work with the Western Cape Education Department and non-governmental organisations that specialise in assisting school learners to improve their performance in mathematics and science. This support helps learners to meet the admission requirements of HEIs for studies in transport, engineering and built environment disciplines and to be in a good position to apply for bursaries.
I also wish to acknowledge the efforts of the Directorate: Professional Development under the leadership of our Head of Department, Ms Jacqui Gooch. A special thanks to the members of the Masakh’iSizwe team, as well as the BCV representatives for their dedication to developing the next generation of professionals in the transport, engineering and built environment disciplines.
In conclusion, I wish to congratulate our bursars for receiving this prestigious bursary, and urge you all to seize this tremendous opportunity and parlay it into professional careers that you can be proud of. I encourage you all to also share your talents by participating in the outreach programme that was launched in partnership with NGOs to provide tutoring assistance to Grade 11 and 12 learners in mathematics and physical science. I’m sure these learners could benefit from your guidance in these key subjects.
I thank you.